Twente hands McClaren the 'perfect opportunity'

Steve McClaren's first press conference as England manager was held in the opulent surroundings of Marylebone's Landmark Hotel. Yesterday, he was unveiled as the new coach of FC Twente in the slightly less luxurious surroundings of the Bistro de Broeierd in the city of Enschede in the east of the Netherlands.

But, despite the fall from grace, McClaren was all smiles again and he made the right noises about relishing the challenge ahead. He also said the decision to head for the Eredivisie had nothing to do with Paul Ince's appointment at Blackburn Rovers, a job he was interviewed for.

"It had nothing to do with Blackburn because four weeks ago that was not a possibility, even 10 days ago it was not a possibility," McClaren said. "Yes last week there was some interest, but I had to make a decision and that was to come here.

"In England I have worked at the very top and with the top players," McClaren added. "After that experience – yes I could go back to English football" – he failed to mention where – "but I wanted to progress as a coach, as a manager and progress my education. It is not a fresh start or a new start. It is another challenge and something I very much look forward to."

The 47-year-old said he has tried to take the positives from his 15-month stint in charge of England, which must have taken some doing. "Nothing is ever forgotten," he said. "I think you can take the experience as good and bad. Coming here is a new challenge and a new experience that I look forward to.

"It has always been a challenge and ambition of mine to coach in Europe and this is the perfect time and the perfect opportunity. I've always wanted to work abroad," he said. "My experiences with Manchester United in Europe and Middlesbrough in Europe, and international football with England, it's always excited me and it's always something that, as a coach, you can develop.

"I think just staying in one country can narrow your focus, so I wanted to open mine. I believe in football, I believe in technique, I believe in possession. That's how the Dutch play football."

McClaren admitted he hit it off with Twente the moment he saw them play Ajax in the Dutch play-offs four weeks ago, when a scoreless draw in the return leg saw the club book a place in the preliminary rounds of the Champions League. "For football reasons, I would have joined Twente the next day after my visit because I had a good feeling and was impressed by the ambitions," McClaren continued.

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